What Day Is It?

Aug 2 08

What Day Is It?

Paul Weinstein

According to CNN the current estimated number of electors Senator Obama has for the Electoral College is 221. Senator McCain’s count is 189. Of the 538 total available, 270 are needed for either candidate to win the presidency[1].  That leaves an estimated 128 “available”.  Of those “available” the breakdown by state is:

  • Florida: 27
  • Ohio: 20
  • Michigan: 17
  • Virginia: 13
  • Missouri: 11
  • Minnesota: 10
  • Colorado: 9
  • Iowa: 7
  • Nevada: 5
  • New Mexico: 5
  • Hampshire: 4

It should be no surprise that the Democrats “just happen” to have scheduled their convention in Denver for August 25-28, 2008. The Republicans will be holding theirs here in Minneapolis the following week, September 1-4, 2008. Moreover, the rumor about the McCain camp is that current Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is a front-runner for the vice-presidential slot. In other words, Minnesota is a “key battleground” state for both campaigns.

This could get interesting.

Both McCain and Obama have taken some jabs[2], McCain for running some ads equating Obama to Paris Hilton, famous for flash but lacking in substance, and Obama for suggesting “the race card” when Obama noted that McCain’s campaign was using its negative ads as scare tactics because Obama  “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

Of course, with the start of the Beijing Olympics less than a week away and the primary conventions just over the horizon, this amounts to nothing more that “trash-talking” before the big game.

For my first week, I have to say I think I’m starting to get a handle on everything. That’s not to say everything can’t blow up in my face tomorrow, but I feel a hell of a lot more comfortable now than I did on Tuesday when the lack of sleep and stress of trying to grab hold was getting to me.  As Tom[3] jokingly put it in a group email “Since arriving in Iowa, I have faced a barrage of how can I do this, why can’t I do this and when are you going to get this setup for me? Anyone else heard this?”

This has made me push on an idea I had even before I came out here, but in which Brian had reframed in my mind on Monday or so, to develop a group of tech volunteers who can offer first line support for various issues. While I’m not from the area, I have the benefit of having some college friends[4], one of whom works in the local tech industry, for a basic search. I’m also thinking of posting a question on LinkedIn.

Why? Well it will only get worse as more staff is added and the intensity of a potentially close state race grows. If this week is any indication as for the most part my daily issues can include hurry up and waiting, wondering, for example, when data/voice setups from the local cable/phone companies will be installed such that I can move on to setting up networks.

But setting up is just the beginning, our main office has a data line from Comcast and for the most part the line is doing well. But one issue I’ve been trying to eliminate is our WiFi has at times been a bit flaky. Now the access point is not in the best location and is a combined router/wifi access point (Linksys WRT160N) for home, not office, use and we do have some competition from our neighbors. So for the most part I’ve been trying to lay down Ethernet to everyone’s desk, which has put a run on what Cat5 I’ve had on hand. I should have more cabling and better WiFi access points in the next day or so, thanks to Mark[5], but I figure this is going to be an ongoing battle.

How do I figure? Well because the other half of my time this will has been dealing with questions of scaling resources. Specifically adding more phone lines, we’re talking about VoIP as a cheap, fast solution and terminals, refurbished desktops or thin clients running off of a handful of new desktop computers  – looks we’re going for refurbished desktops, it’s the know quantity in terms of what to expect and plan for – for volunteers to work at.

Of course everything should be in place and sunning smoothly by sometime in December….



[1] Oh and we have to hold an actual election too, but why be so nitpicky?

[2] Egged on of course by everyone’s not so impartial judge and jury, ‘mainstream’ ‘mass’ media.

[3] Tom C., Iowa IT Director

[4] Glenn and Cyndi

[5] Mark J., IT Special Projects Manager and Midwest and Southwest Regional IT Director who I blame for getting me into this mess since he is the one reasonable for originally sending out a email to me, among others, soliciting applications for various IT Director positions.